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Cofferdam Bags Versus Sandbags

Individuals have been dewatering for decades with sandbags, however, they’re not the only option. Another solution is cofferdam bags. Both are effective options, but it’s a good idea to learn the differences between the two.


Sandbags contain soil or sand to reduce or prevent the impact of water damage following a flood. They’re often constructed with burlap or polypropylene sacks. Sandbags are ideal because they’re simple to set up, depending on the size of your project.

They’re also simple to use, inexpensive and easy to install. And, not just this, but with technology today, sandbags are becoming better and better by the day. All you need is some soil or sand, a shovel and someone there to help you. Then you have the set up to keep water outside of your home or building, where it belongs.

You can prevent water intrusion which causes mold and severe water damage by using sandbags.

Cofferdam Bags

A great alternative to sandbags is to use cofferdam bags that work like aqua barriers. You can make them with bulk bags (or jumbo bags). The most common strategy of damming off the property is through the use of stacking sandbags but building cofferdams can be a little more effective.

When you use bulk bags to build cofferdams, it:

  • Can be deployed quickly and removed quickly when you no longer need the temporary dam.
  • Can be built for accommodating various heights and very irregular riverbeds and variable river depths.
  • Can be configured as you see fit.

When you use jumbo bags for building a cofferdam, you’ll require a few extra supplies to efficiently keep the location dry. You’ll need a polyethylene tarp that helps prevent water from getting in between the bags. It also helps to seal the area further. You’ll also require a bag filler.

Temporary dams can be made with water, sand or clean gravel up to 95% capacity. When constructing a cofferdam, it’s also typical to use traditional sandbags and big bags alongside each other. The sandbags will fit into the smaller spots where a bulk bag might not fit.

Differences Between Sandbags and Cofferdam Bags

There are many differences between the two, including:

  • Sandbags require you to import sand or dry earth to fill the bag.
  • Cofferdams fill the inner chambers with on-site water.
  • Sandbags require you to dispose of them with the assistance of a health and safety crew.
  • Cofferdams are reusable since you can empty the inner bladder and store
  • Sandbags can be heavy.
  • Cofferdams are portable and lightweight.
  • Sandbags, while effective and can reduce water seepage, can allow water to seep in.
  • Cofferdams offer a watertight seal once you prep the site.
  • Sandbags can absorb bacteria and waste in the water, which could be a safety hazard.
  • Cofferdams don’t absorb this, but actually seal it out.
  • Sandbags require more installation labor.
  • Cofferdams don’t require as much labor for setting up and breaking down.
  • Sandbags can often require you to change them in the middle of your project because they could stop working effectively because of overfilling.
  • Cofferdams don’t require this additional attention between setting up and breaking down.
  • Sandbags require labor, removal from site, disposal along with supply transportation and supplies
  • Cofferdams have no disposal costs, require light labor and provide reusability.

If you’re thinking about using a water barrier to control floods and protect your home or for dewatering projects, you can use either of these, but just be aware one may be more efficient than the other, depending on your needs.

Ultimately, it’s your decision which option you should go with for your project or flood protection. It’s just important to know the differences between the two.


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